Polls Suggest You Don’t Need Money to Be Happy

May 21, 2009 07:31 PM
by Kate Davey
Although more people are worried about the economy and the job market, several polls indicate that such concerns have had little impact on their happiness.

Even in Bad Times, Happiness Is Possible

Results from a recent Associated Press-mtvU poll indicate 36 percent of college students consider themselves “very happy,” while only seven percent consider themselves “very unhappy.” In 2008, 31 percent of students considered themselves “very happy” and nine percent of students considered themselves “very unhappy.”

The poll also found that more than half the students are stressed about finding a job after graduation and that their financial worries have increased from 27 percent in March 2008 to 32 percent this year.

The New York Daily News reports that a recent survey by the American Psychological Association Survey found that 80 percent of Americans polled say the economy is a “significant cause” of stress for them. But as Dr. Kennon Sheldon, a psychological sciences professor at the University of Missouri, told the New York Daily News, happiness is still achievable despite the economy.

“Happiness is more related to interpersonal connections—such as family, friends or volunteering—than to affluence or possessions," Dr. Sheldon explained, which might also explain how students maintain their positive outlook in the face of a bleak economy and dismal job prospects.

In fact, writes Bruce Grierson in Psychology Today, adversity and failure can actually make some people stronger and more flexible than they would have been otherwise.

Background: What makes you happy may not get you a job

Yet another study, this one released by Harris Interactive Inc., found that 35 percent of adults polled said that they were “very happy.”  This is the same percent of people that said that they were “very happy” last year.

As Investment News reports, the survey also found that people who had higher incomes did not necessarily report higher levels of happiness.

In September 2008, FindingDulcinea reported that a study from Britain’s National Literacy Trust says that literate people are more likely to be happy.

They might be happier, but unfortunately the well-educated have no guarantee that they’ll find a job in this economy. As findingDulcinea explains, many law firms are rescinding offers as well as delaying them. In addition, even traditionally stable industries, such as nursing and business, will see higher jobless rates.

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines